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Mushroom management

 

Disciplines > Leadership > Leadership articles > Mushroom management

Description | Why it happens | What to do about it | See also

 

Description

In a common metaphor, the 'mushroom manager' plants you knee-deep (or worse) in the smelly stuff and keeps you in the dark.

In practice, this means you get to do all the work that they do not want. They do not communicate and generally ignore you, so you do not know their plans or what else might be going on in the organization.

Why it happens

Mushroom managers are often more concerned about their own career and image. Anyone who appears as a threat may well be deliberately held back as their ability may make the mushroom manager look bad.

Mushroom managers may also have their favorites on whom they lavish attention and the plum jobs. Others are swept away and given the dross.

Managers may take the mushroom route is that they just do not care about some or all of their people. Sometimes mushroom managers are just incompetent and know no better. 

What to do about it

If you are a quiet mouse who likes to keep your head down and avoid other people, then you may like a mushroom manager, just so long as they do not over-do it. Somebody has to handle the unpopular work which may make you feel safe and comfortable. Staying away from other work is fine as it lets you go home at a regular hour. Not everyone needs high ambition.

On the other hand, a mushroom manager may annoy you as they hold back your career and give you little opportunity to shine. Be assertive. Talk to them about what they are doing and the effect they are having. Do not lie down and be the doormat who says 'thank you' for any scraps they care to throw you. Remember that you always have more power than you think you have.

See also

Seagull Management

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